Each Wednesday I choose a word and think about it for five minutes or so, usually when I’m having a coffee break at work.   I scribble down whatever the word suggests to me and post it when I get home in the evening (well, after walking the dog and eating my evening meal).

If you would like to join in then please feel free to do so.  You can post it on your own blog (would be great if you pingback to me so I can have a peak), or post in my comments if you prefer.  It’s up to you.

Today’s word is Emaciated:  Definition = very thin and weak usually because of extreme hunger or illness, undernourished.  Synonyms = skeletal; gaunt; cadaverous; atrophied; attenuated; haggard

When I looked at the word it immediately brought to mind images of the prisoners held in the Nazi concentration camps.  For me those images encapsulate man’s inhumanity to man – the horrors that can take place as a result of those who can make a difference simply choosing not to ‘see’.  So, this week my post is a piece of prose, a thought about other people in our own time, currently being corralled as a result of events taking place way beyond their control.  Not at all strictly to do with the word, but the thoughts which entered my head because of the word.

Man’s inhumanity to Man
Past and Present

An unimaginable cruelty perpetrated through fear and hatred
A wish to exterminate a people, a culture, a religion, a way of living
A need to pin the blame for the world’s ills on an identifiable group of people
Those images of wasted bodies
Made ill through lack of nourishment and made susceptible to disease
Their gaunt faces staring back at us
Challenging us not to let such pitiless inhumanity happen again
Challenging us to guard against the urge to find a scapegoat
A scapegoat who will take the blame for the ills of our time
And yet, have we really learned anything?

Fast forward 70 years and what have we learned?
We raise our borders against the oppressed
We fear a body of people because of the actions of a misguided few
We point the blame towards those already suffering
We mistrust our fellow human beings
We watch as people flee the destruction of their homes,
Their lives, their families, their culture
Do we really want to deny them life and hope?

The politics of fear all too often win out
The louder the voices of doom
The more wary and suspicious we become of our fellow men and women
But, what if it were us who were being denied safety?
If our own homes were being destroyed?
What if we were on the other side begging to be allowed in?
Would we not be angry at those who would deny us
Access to safety, to a life, to a future, to hope?



12 thoughts on “Wednesday Word

  1. Very touching, Ruth. The Holocaust is one of my areas of interest. Have read many books and visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C. three times. So I should have thought about it with that word. I did’t. I’ll do a post tomorrow…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cheryl, I must admit that I’ve read a shed load of books on the Holocaust and the concentration camps. It formed part of one of the courses I taught at university. There are so many images which will never leave me – and which always make me question man’s continuing intolerance of others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The exhibit at the museum that haunts me to this day is a pile of children’s shoes… Have you read “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?” (I found the movie was even better, actually.) I cried and cried at the end of that one. Or how about “Sarah’s Key?” The last non-fiction one I read was “A Train in Winter” by Caroline Moorehead. It was about the women who fought in the French underground.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Philip, thank you for joining in. I promise that next week’s prompt will be lighter ☺ Your poem gives much food for thought, and your image is scarily reminiscent of of the emaciated images from Belsen, Auschwitz and others. Madness.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very powerful poem Ruth, just raced back to read it – I nabbed your link to this post for your pingback while still tidying mine up, got a bit carried away so there’ll be a part two / extension another day – but my main response, also a poem, from a different and still similar-ish angle, is posted 🙂 Thanks for the coffee break – heavy topic this one though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heavy indeed – will lighten it up for next Wednesday 😀 Popping over to read yours now – as long as my broadband connection holds. BT Infinity and we’re suffering with 5.75 Mbps at the moment. 😱

      Liked by 1 person

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